Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Distributist Thinking of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

by Richard Aleman

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s socio-economic thought is found in his books, "Rebuilding Russia," "From Under the Rubble," "Letter to the Soviet Leaders," and his address to the 1978 Harvard graduating class. As Solzhenitsyn relayed to author Joseph Pearce in his book “Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile,” he arrived at his conclusions unaware of the early Distributist movement or E.F. Schumacher’s neo-Distributism. Nevertheless, his vision is complimentary to the Distributist thesis...

For Europeans and Americans, Solzhenitsyn was a hero.

But when Solzhenitsyn committed the sin of criticizing the West in front of the 1978 Harvard graduating class, and dismissed Western social and economic policies as false alternatives for the world, those same European and American thinkers once cheering Solzhenitsyn as a champion for freedom consequently berated his scrutiny and ignored Solzhenitsyn’s social, political, and economic analysis, as well as any of his proposed reforms. This was particularly true of proponents of neoclassical economics and market deregulation, as Solzhenitsyn, once crushed under the boot of massive centralized government, was expected to applaud economic non-interventionism. Instead, he predicted disaster for institutions apathetic to economic and social involvement. After all, government regulations—within limits—serve to protect the common good and to keep fallen man in check. What’s more...Read it all

--->Excerpts From Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Harvard Commencement Address, 1978...

--->'An Intellectual Chaos'. Alexander Solzhenitsyn On Shallow Humanism...

Solzhenitsyn on False Freedom & the Corrosion of Evil: "Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people's right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.

"And what shall we say about the dark realm of criminality as such? Legal frames (especially in the United States) are broad enough to encourage not only individual freedom but also certain individual crimes. The culprit can go unpunished or obtain undeserved leniency with the support of thousands of public defenders. When a government starts an earnest fight against terrorism, public opinion immediately accuses it of violating the terrorists' civil rights. There are many such cases.

"Such a tilt of freedom in the direction of evil has come about gradually but it was evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature; the world belongs to mankind and all the defects of life are caused by wrong social systems which must be corrected. Strangely enough, though the best social conditions have been achieved in the West, there still is criminality and there even is considerably more of it than in the pauper and lawless Soviet society. (There is a huge number of prisoners in our camps which are termed criminals, but most of them never committed any crime; they merely tried to defend themselves against a lawless state resorting to means outside of a legal framework). "----excerpt, Solzhenitsyn Harvard Address, 1978

--->A Giant Among Catholic Economists: Thomas Stock writes, "Heinrich Pesch, 1854-1926, a German Jesuit priest and economist, is largely unknown in the U.S., but arguably he is one of the most important and influential Catholic thinkers of the past few centuries. It was to the thought of Pesch and his disciples that Pope Pius XI turned to in composing his monumental encyclical Quadragesimo Anno (1931), and it is from Pesch that John Paul II has taken many of the ideas of his own social encyclicals, including the idea of man as the subject of work, of man’s dominion over the world as founded on his exercise of work, and even the key term “solidarism” (solidarity). Indeed, it sometimes seems uncanny, after reading http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifJohn Paul, to turn to Pesch and see the same ideas, sometimes presented in nearly the same words. Any thinker who has had such influence over more than one Supreme Pontiff is worth knowing better...Read it all

--->Interview with Dr. Rupert J. Ederer. Dr. Rupert J. Ederer is Professor Emeritus of Buffalo State College (State University of New York). In addition to being a premier Catholic economist1 in the U.S. he is perhaps the greatest living authority on the great minds that helped to pioneer and develop Catholic social teaching since the 19th century...Read it all
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--->Israel ready to react with 'great force': Netanyahu. "We don't intend to let the terror organizations again disturb the order but we will do all we need to to return the (military) activity to the border line itself," he said...

--->General Wesley Clark Speaks On NeoCon Plan To Take Out 7 Middle Eastern Countries In 5 Years...

--->Alexander Cockburn: Libya Rebels: Gaddafi Could be Right About al-Qaeda...

--->Estimated Half Million peaceful protesters march on London to
protest budget cuts...

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